|Lorrie Myers serves with XP Media and is director of XP Missions and a powerfully gifted administrator for the Kingdom of God! In this devotional she shares that one of the biggest keys to living the Christian life, is to realize that we CANNOT live the Christian life, at least not by our own power!|
The dream from a few weeks ago is still as clear as if it were yesterday. In this dream I was in a room with a small gathering of people, perhaps 7 or 8 others. They were the “movers and shakers,” people who were gifted and capable in their areas of influence. They had natural charisma and were those who could be counted on to make things happen. But I found myself giving them a strong imperative, “You have to learn how to be NOT strong.” I repeated emphatically, “The key is knowing how to be NOT strong.”
Even though that dream happened several weeks ago, the message has lingered with me and has been percolating in my heart ever since.
In this age of “Do It Yourself,” we seem to value the ‘strong ones’ – those people who have the natural stamina and willpower to set their minds to any goal and see it through to accomplishment. We are surrounded by messages, both directly and subliminal, that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. The “Strengths Movement” has spread its own gospel: you only have to determine your areas of strength to be successful in life.
While I do understand the gist of the above, somehow I have been caught by the countercultural message of Christ, a way of living life by HIS strength and by HIS grace, which cuts across our own natural mindsets and abilities. How does one learn to be “not strong” in these times? Is it even a message that has an audience?
Jesus seemed to think so. His words are clear, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). Jesus was onto something! He fully grasped what it was to live by the life of another, and not by his own strength, understanding or capacity. He modeled for us this “not strong” life. Oh, to have been privy to His secret times of prayer with His Father, His life of dependence and being infused by the strength of another. Although very few Scriptures are given revealing His specific prayer life, beyond the iconic “Lord’s Prayer,” we are given glimpses: “We will … make Our abode” (John 14:23). “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:11). The secret of His strength was not so secret after all. He had learned to live by the strength of another life that was not His own, and He has empowered us to do the same.
These days, we often hear the word grace, but I have found that it is often used in the context of “mercy,” in that we get what we don’t deserve. On one level this is true: we don’t deserve the favor and blessing of Christ. But there is a definition of grace that I have always loved in its simplicity, “His enabling power,” for it is the power of Christ Himself that indwells us and enables us to live by a means beyond our own. We are being called to learn how to be “not strong” in ourselves, in order to access the Spirit’s amazing power on a daily, moment-by-moment basis that will completely transform us and the world around us!
Think about that for a moment – the very essence and power of the Spirit of God that pulled Christ out from the dead weight of every sin in the world is now made available to us! How magnificent is that?!! It is Christ’s power that resides in us when we are weak, when we don’t depend on our own strength. What a brilliant plan that completely makes us glory in Him, and in Him alone!
I think one of the biggest keys to living the Christian life is to realize that we CANNOT live the Christian life, at least not by our own power! Christ has called us to a standard that is so beyond our own natural ability to achieve it, that it is almost comical. Love your enemies. Don’t even think a thought of anger against your brother, or it’s as good as murder. Lay down your life for others, even if they’ve hurt and maligned you. This way of life is entirely impossible … in our own strength, that is.
Christ in you, the hope of glory, isn’t something that comes in the “sweet by and by,” but something that is alive in us, now! And in this day of Facebook and Twitter sound bites telling us, “You are strong. You can do it. Don’t let anyone stop you. Live strong!” it’s easy to forget that Christ is in us, given as a gift, if only we learn how to step out of our own strength and let His life be lived out through us.
It’s a bit ironic that we spend the first 20+ years of our life learning how to be independent and rely on ourselves. And then, if we truly want to follow Christ’s way, we spend the rest of our lives unlearning those principles of living by our own willpower and self-sufficiency, coming to a place where we don’t trust the “arm of the flesh” but learn to trust in God’s strength and have it become our own.
I believe there is coming a great outpouring of God’s grace through His Spirit, His poured-out-strength-and-ability, not because we deserve it but because living in this world is going to demand it! Perhaps we’ve lived on “cruise control,” thinking we were skillfully guiding our own vehicle down the road, but now in these treacherous road conditions we’re having to relearn dependence on a power and wisdom completely outside of ourselves. We must become disillusioned with our own self-effort and learn to depend on God’s strength and grace.
What does it mean to live by God’s grace? It means that we are constantly attuned to His Spirit, asking for His wisdom, asking for His input, leaning into the breast of our Beloved and drawing our life-source from His heart. It means putting aside our natural ways of problem-solving and asking for His solutions. It means we quit trying so hard and practice a life of surrendering to His strength and power in each situation that arises. God’s divine power enables and empowers us to fulfill how God desires us to live. It gives us power over sin, not by our own self-effort and dogged determination but accomplished by His grace. We become like Jesus and take on the nature of Christ, all because of His power, His grace.
I once saw a sticker on an electric car, “Powered by Another Source.” That’s how I want to live my life, not strong on my own, but strong in Him. How about you?
C. Weekly Scripture Meditation
Week ONE – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Week TWO – John 5:19-24
Week THREE – Philippians 2:13
Week FOUR – Romans 8:5-11